More Companies are Turning to Blogs for Marketing

Blogging may have started as a channel for people to start conversations and build virtual communities, but more and more companies are using blogs as marketing tools.

In a story in last week's Washington Post, reporter Sarah Halzack said companies are using blogs to talk directly to customers or give a personal touch to big business.

“It’s a phenomenal promotion vehicle for a company, or a great crisis tool or a great customer service tool,” Geoff Livingston, a PR strategist and social media expert, was quoted as saying.

The Post story mentioned Honest Tea as one company that’s done well with blogging. “We’re trying to be as open and disclose as much information as we can,” Honest Tea CEO Seth Goldman said.

When Honest Tea announced that Coca-Cola was buying a 40% interest in the brand, its blog gave a voice to the many customers who opposed the deal, the Post said.

Goldman even addressed one of the most detailed customer complaints point by point. “The blog at least helps people see how we think about it,” Goldman told the Post.

Hotel chain Marriott International CEO Bill Marriott also uses a blog as a way to communicate with customers and prospective customers. Since January 2007, the company has made more than $5 million in bookings from people who clicked through the blog to a reservation page, according to the Post.

Marriott also uses the blog as a way to communicate to the company’s employees. “It’s a virtual substitute for Bill Marriott visiting every hotel,” Kathleen Matthews, head of global communications for the hotel chain, told the Post.

Viget Labs, a Web consulting firm, runs five blogs, each focused on a different division of the company, and they have helped the firm with its recruiting, CEO Brian Wynne Williams said.

“Anybody that we’ve hired in the past couple of years, I think any of them would tell you that they read the blog heavily to get a sense of our people,” Williams was quoted as saying.

This article was written by Erik Battenberg for PRSA's Tactics and The Strategist Online.